A Q&A with Geoff Teehan on why the ubiquitous 'like' needed a big change

If we look back through the history of social media, we find ourselves uploading our faces to Friendster, compulsively rearranging our MySpace Top 8, pouring hearts out on LiveJournal and posting boldly to the outer reaches of our circles on SixDegrees.

Today, we’re living in a more shallow social-pool. We have thousands of ‘friends’ and even more ‘followers,’ small percentages of whom we’ve met face-to-face. And our messages of ‘I see you' got faster and simpler. Introduced in 2009, Facebook’s thumbs-up ‘Like’ button became the model on which other sites built a Lucky Charms box of their own approval iconography, including stars on Twitter and hearts on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Even as the button crossed platforms, we still lived in a binary system: 0 or 1, ‘Like’ or silence (or a comment, if you’re a troll or someone’s mom).

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